Virgin's unlimited data phone plan: only $25/month

February 4, 2011: 10:54 AM ET

Virgin has done it again. They are offering up a better Android smartphone and keeping the same incredibly low rates.

How much is your typical feature phone plan?  At Verizon(VZ), 450 minutes is $40/month with an additional charge for texts and no data.  Pre-paid plans start at $65/month for 450 minutes.  AT&T (T) has a similar post paid plan: $40 for 450 minutes.  No text, no data.

Smartphone plans are obviously more expensive.  PED posted a comparison chart of the major carriers smartphone plans here, which was put together by Billshrink.

With that in mind, have a look at Virgin's plans, above, right.  Compare.

As I've stated before (and I still can't understand how they do this) Virgin, who use Sprint's(S) very solid nationwide 3G network, blow them all away by a long shot.  For $25 a month (that's AFTER tax) unlimited data and text, 300 anytime minutes.  $40/month bumps you up to 1200 anytime minutes and $60 is unlimited minutes.

There are two downsides to Virgin's plans however:

1. You must pay for the phone up front (no subsidies).

2. They have a very limited selection of smartphones.

The good news is that both of those limitations got slashed this week with the introduction of the $149 LG Optimus V...

I got my demo unit Optimus V after posting the story that they had gone on sale early at Radioshack earlier this week.  The V is a very solid mid-range phone running Android 2.2 Froyo.  Until now, Virgin's only Android phone was a Samsung slider that ran Android 2.1 and cost $250 retail.

The Optimus V runs Android 2.2, has a much bigger 3.2 inch 320x480 display (similar to iPhone 3GS) and amazingly, costs $100 less at a $150 starting price.  It also feels very solid in your hand and runs a mostly unencumbered no frills OS.

So let's do a little math: The unlimited data plans with the major carriers start out at about $80/month compared to Virgin's $25.  Over the course of a two year plan, that $55/month/phone difference is over $1300 in savings.

The network works great.  It is the same as Sprint.

Again, I don't know how Virgin does it, but if you aren't ready to spend the type of money that the top 10-20% of phones cost (iPhones, EVOs, Droids, etc.), then Virgin's Optimus is likely the best value phone you are going to find.  And that includes feature phones.

Engadget had a glowing review of the Sprint Optimus S, a hardware and network twin of the Virgin Optimus V.  I'm inclined to agree with their conclusion:

I'll be hard to imagine ever spending a cent on a regular ol' featurephone again.

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About This Author
Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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